Every so often I let it be known that I do see the ugly side to Croatia and I’m not okay with it.
It’s not something that I like to focus on because I want my content to inspire you to choose my beautiful country Croatia for a holiday and not it’s competitors, Spain, Italy of Greece. While staying in Dubrovnik, my husband and I decided to go down the Yugoslavia rabbit hole and check out the ruins of the once glorius and most prestigious hotels of it’s time, Hotel Belvedere.
Hotel Belvedere sits on a cliff’s edge on the south of Dubrovnik Old Town, about a scenic 15 minute walk from Banje Beach. This hotel was once the epitome of wealth, glamour and luxury at a time in history where things were on the verge of falling apart in the region. Complete with heliport, private beach and panoramic views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and Island Lokrum. It was the playground for Yugoslavia’s business moguls and to be part of this clique, you had to be a somebody. Professional athletes and starleta’s were among their clientele.
Hotel Belvedere opened in 1985 but six years later the 5-star hotel was attacked during the Croatian War of Independence, destroying every last hint of glimmer.
Today, Hotel Belvedere stands abandoned, ruined, vandalised.
It’s no longer a home away from home for the elite, it’s home to many feral cats and they will make it quite clear they are not happy with your presence. It was also part of the set for the Game of Thrones series.
I personally have a massive problem with graffiti and communist buildings in Croatia, these two often go hand in hand. They make my eyes burn. So imagine my disgust when we stumbled into the ruins of Hotel Belvedere? I was sad, I was angry, I was left speechless… how can anyone allow this to go to waste? Hotel Belvedere should be the jewel within the jewel of Dubrovnik. Unfortunately it is so far from it.
So exactly what is my problem with this abandoned gem? Exactly that. I can’t fathom that in 2020, potentially the most iconic piece of real estate in Croatia stands as it currently does. Where are the investors? Where is the renovation? Has Dubrovnik’s sense of pride being forgotten on the southeast end of town? How has the city and Government allowed this to happen? Many questions, some remain unanswered.
What I did manage to find out was that Hotel Belvedere was purchased by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who is also a very big investor in Croatia. He purchased the property several years ago for 12.2.million euros and has struggled to get the permits for his ‘7-star vision’ in order to revamp this hotel back to it’s former glory. No surprises there but I share my disapointment. This has promted Mr Vekselberg to begin searching for a new buyer as he is basically “over it.” Sadly, I can’t blame him.
So I ask the question, what will it take for Croatia to reach it’s full potential?